The Bush administration's proposal to overhaul the rules governing overtime
will face another round of scrutiny today in the Senate, the Chicago Tribune
After Senate-House negotiators decided to drop a measure that would have blocked
Bush's revisions to overtime rules for white-collar workers, Senator Arlen Specter
of Pennsylvania called a hearing for both sides of the issue to present their
cases. Debate on the proposal and other issues has delayed a vote on an omnibus spending bill, according to
the newspaper. After the hearing, the Senate will vote on whether to end debate
and vote on the spending bill.
Thus far, much of the debate on the overtime rules has centered on the number
of workers who would lose their overtime under the plan. The Bush administration
contends about 644,000 workers would lose overtime eligibility. Labor groups
and many Democrats say the number is closer to 8 million.
The newspaper notes that the Labor Department has faced another round of criticism
in recent weeks after the Associated Press reported on the Labor Department's
tips for companies to avoid paying overtime to low-wage workers.
The Bush administration's proposal has navigated through many twists before
today's hearing, the newspaper notes. In 2003, both the Senate and House voted
for a measure blocking the proposed rules covering white-collar workers, albeit
the House vote was nonbinding. Senate and House negotiators then dropped that
blocking provision from the final version of the bill to which the measure was attached.
Both sides of the debate have vowed to continue to fight if they lose the current